Dept. of Better Late Than Never

From Holden:

A tip of the hat to pie for this one. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens finally puts his investments in a blind trust after six years as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Ted Stevens said he expects questions about potential conflicts of interest to end now that he has sold off some investments and placed most of his assets in a blind trust.

Stevens announced last week he had sold his interest in Anchorage and Fairbanks real estate and directed the money into the blind trust. He said he did so in part to spare his former partners the scrutiny his involvement created.

“No one ever asks me about the losses, but they have really held up to public scorn the successes, and the scorn covered the people who allowed me to invest with them,” Stevens told the Fairbanks News-Miner.

Stevens in 1997 he began investing with Anchorage developers Jonathan Rubini and Leonard Hyde. One of his investments was in a limited liability corporation called Centerpoint that owns the headquarters building of the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. in Anchorage.

In a December 2003 article about his investments, the Los Angeles Times said Stevens had pushed a long list of bills desired by Arctic Slope Regional, a Native corporation set up under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The article also described how Stevens had intervened with the Air Force in 2000 when it temporarily rejected Rubini and Hyde’s bid to build private housing units at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Stevens’ assistance on the housing deal, in which he had no financial stake, had been reported in Alaska, as had details on his investments.

Stevens, who just wound up a six-year term as chairman of the Senate’s powerful Appropriations Committee, has said his actions were motivated by a desire to help Alaskans, not by his own financial interests. But he said Friday he did not want to put his friends through any more stress.